It's just a 23 mile strip of sand, a barrier island, off the southeast coast of North Carolina. And like nearly all such places, it's overbuilt and overburdened. But in the winter, when the noisy bars have closed for the season, and tourists are long gone, and even the fishermen have retreated, a nice long walk on the beach can be especially exhilarating. It was deserted, and glorious, and cold. The moon was out and barely visible.
Two things I'd never found before in my previous miles of beachcombing: red coral and a starfish. The coral was brittle and little more red than this picture shows. The starfish was dead and missing a chunk off one of its points.
I also found a natural sea sponge. It was pliable and soft--and gritty with sand.
And I saw some dolphins jumping and playing:
From a shell's point of view: